The Lake of the Ozarks is a large man-made lake in southern Missouri created in 1929 when the Union Electric Corporation dammed the Osage river to build a hydroelectric plant. It has been a popular vacation destination since the moment it filled. My family has been going there for my entire life, and my parents retired there, so I have lots of happy recollections of “The Lake” as it’s known in Missouri. But even my memories don’t go back into Super-8.
(This isn’t my family’s movie, just something I stumbled across on YouTube.)
In watching the clips, I can’t say that I recognize much beyond the dam itself, which is almost unchanged. I can attest that the Larry Don, the large cruise boat seen in the clip, was still giving lake tours well into the 1980’s. There are, amazingly, still a number of tiny 50’s-era resorts and motels like the one depicted in the movie, lost among more modern and expensive developments. And I totally dig that the major brag on the sign is that it’s “Approved by the state board of health.”
The lake seems impossibly calm and empty when compared to its current state. Virtually every inch of accessible shoreline has been developed by now. On holiday weekends, you can get from one shore to the other without getting your feet wet. Taking off from the water in a float plane in the summer would be nothing short of suicidal today.
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